Elsa (Idina Menzel) was born with sorcery that allows her to manipulate ice. While playing in one of the vast ballrooms in their family home Elsa accidentally hurts her younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell). Their mother and father, the queen and king of Arendelle, seek help from the wise and magical trolls that inhabit part of their kingdom to help cure Anna. The trolls help heal Anna but warn the king and queen that without the proper control Elsa’s magic will become dangerous. To protect both their daughters they decide to lock the gates to the outside world and Elsa refuses to see Anna in the fear that she will hurt her again. When Elsa comes of age she is crowned queen and Anna finally gets to see her sister again. Despite looking poised Elsa is still fighting to restrain her power. When she becomes upset at the coronation ball her control is lost and she covers the kingdom in a seemingly eternal winter. It is now up to Anna to seek out her sister. With the help of ice salesman Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his reindeer Sven and an enchanted snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad) hopefully Anna can bring summer back to Arendelle.
As the title suggests Disney’s Frozen involves a lot of snow and ice. This point would be asinine if it were not for the fact that Frozen is an animated film. Ice, in fact any form of water frozen or not, is incredibly difficult to animate well. Disney’s animation team have developed a winter so beautifully detailed that I am surprised anybody in Arendelle wishes for it to disappear. When Elsa runs to the mountains to escape her coronation she creates a striking ice palace during the song ‘Let it Go’. This is a stunning piece of animation as the conjured ice realistically cracks and shines while being constructed into a building. Only one aspect of the Frozen’s design was bothersome. When watching, it was difficult not to notice that Elsa and Anna look extremely similar to Rapunzel in Disney-animated Tangled. I personally like the look of these characters and understand that this is obviously a signature look for the new Disney animated films; however, if all young women are to look the same in future films it may become tiresome.
Despite looking similar to Rapunzel, Elsa and Anna’s personalities are intelligently designed not to mimic Tangled. The personalities of the sisters are brilliantly written by Jennifer Lee and distinctive from all the other princesses that have come before them. I found it effortless to empathise with the strong and determined Elsa as she struggles to keep her power under control to protect her sister. However, I doubt whether anybody who watches Frozen will not fall in love with the enthusiastic Anna. The supporting characters were as well-developed and charming as Anna and Elsa. Kristoff’s relationship with his reindeer Sven was one of the highlights of the film. And Olaf the snowman, in traditional Disney form, was a cute and hilarious sidekick. It was refreshing to watch an animated film focus on a relationship between two sisters. In the end it is Anna’s true love for her sister that helps her save the day. I must also applaud the voice actors, especially Kristen Bell as Anna, as they made their character truly come to life.
Christophe Beck wrote a Disney-worthy score for Frozen. ‘Let It Go’ sung by Elsa is the song that has become extremely popular since the release of Frozen. It is a truly beautiful song and compliments the screenplay perfectly (Idina Menzel could sing anything and it would sound amazing). However, as strange as it may seem, my favourite song of the film is not sung by any of the main characters. The first thing the audience hear at the beginning of Frozen is men singing in chorus, cutting down into a frozen lake to produce blocks of ice. The song they are singing is named ‘Frozen Heart’. This song is powerful and a perfect introduction into the arctic winters of Arendelle.
Disney’s Frozen, simply and stereotypically put, was enchanting; however, I do most definitely prefer Tangled as a better example of a ‘new’ Disney animation.